Choki Wangmo 

Since mid-December last year, 82 aspiring entrepreneurs attended virtual training during lockdown which ended last week. 

Trainer and the founder of iHub Tashi Wangdi said that its training needs assessment among 100 existing and new entrepreneurs to determine interest showed that 70 percent of the respondents wanted to start a business but lacked skills to develop a business plan and support organise.  “Training modules are developed as per the participant’s requirement.”

He said that the persisting Covid-19 pandemic had aggravated the issue of unemployment in the country and repatriation of young Bhutanese had added to the national issue.

Although fiscal measures were put in place, containment measures such as travel restrictions and border closures, he said, led to various resource and infrastructure disputes along with the shrinking market.

He said that despite the lockdown, conducting virtual training had tools to make the classes interactive from breakout session to recording each and every session. “We’d technical glitches and internet hiccups but we had to adjust.”

An entrepreneur himself, Tashi Wangdi said that opportunities for startups were fewer and most of the entrepreneurship training were focused on numbers alone, in which the socio-economic and sustainability aspects were not considered.

“Even if the training is good, what really matters is the support given after the training,” he said.

He also said that virtual training and platforms were the new normal and it was time to reinvent the ways to conduct businesses.

An official from Japan International Cooperation Agency said that after the training is completed, another survey will be conducted and necessary support provided to guide and help prospective entrepreneurs to launch and sustain their businesses.

After the training, there are plans to provide entrepreneurs with free workstation for two months where they will learn to develop business plan from mentors at iHub. The agency funded the training programme.

A participant said: “It gave me an in-depth insight into business design thinking, ideation, problem-solving, analogy thinking, and concept of business.”

“I learnt the importance of customer segmentation and process of marketing,” another said.